Mamata’s antidote to foil today’s bandh — insurance & salary cut

The Trinamool Congress government is leaving no stone unturned to make the two-day nationwide bandh called by 11 trade unions from Wednesday a complete non-starter in West Bengal. In a first, the state government has roped in insurance firms for speedy payment of compensation to owners of private buses which might get damaged in the strike.

Transport Minister Madan Mitra, who held a meeting with officials of National Insurance Company for arranging speedy settlement of compensation claims, said those transport owners who have been covered with comprehensive insurance policies will receive the benefits under the clause of strike, riot or any malicious act. "We are making efforts to maintain normalcy in the transport system tomorrow," he said and added all state-run and Volvo buses will be pressed into service. The inland waterways would also operate normally, he said.

The government has also issued a circular to all its employees asking them to be present in offices failing which they would be served showcause notices. The circular said all government offices will remain open on the strike days — February 20 and 21 — and no leave would be granted except for compelling reasons. According to the circular, leave would be granted for reasons like hospitalisation, in the event of a death of a relative, severe illness and absence continuing from before. In case of any employee taking leave for reasons other than these, they would be served with showcause notices and their two-day salary will be cut. If the showcause reply was found to be unsatisfactory, then the government would initiate disciplinary action against the concerned employee, the circular stated.

Many of the employees who come from far away places have received government sanction for night stay at the Writers'. PWD has been asked to make the arrangement, according to Biswajit Bhattacharya, general secretary of United State Government Employees' Federation, affiliated with the Trinamool Congress.

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